IRMA AND ME…..5 HOURS

Spent five straight hours working on Irma and Me yesterday afternoon. Noon to 5. Completed rough draft and sent it off to the publisher.

Still have to work on the Index, Introduction, Acknowledgements, a FINI segment, add pictures, and put together a cover.

Poor Liz. My dear friend. I visited her in the hospital early evening last night. She has been in 8 days. Her diabetes out of control. She has been a diabetic since birth.

Liz is my older friend. She is 83, one year older than me.

I admire her. She has an excellent mind. Liz was Dean of two law schools.

One of the things discussed was how the NBA would handle its basketball players from a legal perspective should they opt to kneel when the National Anthem is played. The NBA season begins soon.

We discussed death also. Quite a jump from basketball to death. Death is something persons my age and Liz’s think about on occasion. Not a morbid talk. I would characterize it as inquisitive.

An excellent Chart Room last night. Many tourists. Interesting because the streets were empty.

Met Lisa and Greg. Visiting from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Two children. A son 23 and daughter 16. Lisa especially charming. She is a school proctor. Greg manager of a distributing company.

They visit Key West 3-4 times a year. Plan on some day buying here.

Then came the Cat! Her name. Actually a nick name. Short for Catherine.

Cat was at the other end of the bar. Told Shaun to buy me a drink. We had not talked yet. Not even a hello or nod of the head. I first refused, then said why not!

Cat is from Iowa. One of my favorite places. Told her of my dear friends Cindy and Tom. I do not recall what city Cat was from.

Cat a sharp woman. Had to be to buy me a drink! I joke. Smart because she is a CPA. My greatest asset for more than 40 years was my CPA Bill Hatfield. I made no economic moves without his advice. Which I always followed.

Cat’s husband is Kenny. A cattle baron of sorts. Sells cattle.

Cat returns for Fantasy Fest. Bringing a group of friends with her. We discussed beads, Sloppy Joe’s toga party, etc.

Cat a fun person. Hope I run into her at Fantasy Fest.

Now came Jill. It was my night!

Jill has been in Key west 30 years. We never met till last night. She is a bartender at Rum Barrel. Studied English at Western State and Colorado. Most Key West bartenders are college educated. Bartenders because they make more money at bartending than they would in another pursuit.

Jill benefited when Irma hit. She was vacationing in Portugal and could not return. Lucky her!

It was after 9 and I still had not eaten. Drove to Tavern ‘n Town for the 9-11 Happy Hour. Sat at the bar, read the newspapers while enjoying an order of fried calamari.

This Las Vegas incident horrific! Fifty plus dead, 200 plus wounded. Described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Crazy people are always with us.

A truism. One which involves Trump. Never fails. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

Trump does not listen. He shoots from the hip. Does things his way. Fails to take into account repercussions. Fails to follow the advice of advisers.

He knows everything.

A wonder!

Trump decided to pick on Venezuela. Felt sorry for the people. He sanctioned Venezuela, banks were restricted from doing business with Venezuelan entities, etc.

He also threatened Maduro. Made comments that sounded like a military effort might follow.

I understand Venezuela. I have followed Maduro since he became President more than 4 years ago. A bad President. A corrupt one, also.

Venezuela ran out of toilet paper soon after he first took office. Venezuela still does not have enough toilet paper. Then Venezuela ran out of food, jobs, etc. Terrible conditions have existed for more than 4 years. Increasingly worse with each passing day.

I have maintained that Venezuela’s problems are their own. Within. A civil war is required to change things. The problem is the people of Venezuela do not have the balls to stand and revolt. They threaten, come close, but never make it.

Venezuela is not our problem. Venezuela presents no threat to the United States.

I suspect Trump might be interested in Venezuela because of its oil reserves. It has the largest oil deposits in the world. Invade under one pretense and take control of Venezuela’s oil might be the Trump motivation.

Sorry for the long introduction re the point I want to make.

Years ago, the U.S. got a rule into effect which most countries to this day follow. Any purchases of oil must be accomplished by the use of U.S. dollars. OPEC supported. Referred to as petrodollars. Keeps our dollar sound.

Maduro has said screw you to Trump. He announced last thursday that all businesses signing contracts with  Venezuela would do so in a foreign currency other than the U.S. dollar.

He intends for Venezuela to primarily use the Chinese yuan. China is thrilled. As is Russia who is in the middle of everything.

China wants its yuan to replace the dollar. Other countries are already in China’s fold.

China is and has been in an economic war with us. They are subtly beating the U.S. At every turn.

Trump does not see it. He would rather threaten military action rather than understand the ongoing economic war and its consequences.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

MUSSELS FOR LUNCH

Many staples of my youth are epicurean delights today. Snails and mussels, for example.

We were an Italian family. My mother had been born in Italy. The cooking definitely Italian.

The snails are now known as escargot. Fancy!

At home, prepared differently than today. My mother would boil the snails in a large pan. The pan had to be large. The snails would try to climb up the sides to get out. The cooked snails were then placed in a huge spaghetti bowl. Sauce poured over. Toothpicks used to snare the snail from the shell.

Mussels. The mussels of today the same as the mussels of yesterday. Boiled. Covered with a tomato or buttery sauce. Bread dunking to clean the plate.

There was a third dish. Tripe. I hated tripe. Most must have. You rarely if ever see it on a menu today. Tripe is a cow’s stomach wall.

My Mother loved tripe. She cooked it. I had to eat it. Ugh!

I enjoyed mussels yesterday at lunch. At Salute’s. Best mussels in town!

I do not eat at Salute’s enough. Don’t know why. Food outstanding. Located on the beach, the view spectacular. Especially of the bikini clad ladies. At my age, the best that can be.

Last night a Chart Room one. Sat at the corner of the bar. Chatted with John.

Two ladies from Des Moines, Iowa seated at the round table. John, I and the ladies chatted away.

Laura and Lisa. Sixtyish. Attractive. One a widow, one divorced. Staying at the Pier House. Leave this morning.

Laura works for an insurance company as a workmen’s comp adjuster. Lisa in logistics for a trucking company.

Everyone expects to enjoy a little deviance in Key West. The ladies were interested where on Pier House property could they have sun bathe topless. I advised not on the main beach. Just to the right, however. under the overhang.

Next year, they will!

This morning’s Key West Citizen ran an article advising that the Navy is training four bottlenose dolphins in Key West waters for a month. The dolphins being trained in underwater detection. Apparently, dolphins are natural discovers of certain type weaponry buried underwater beneath the sand.

I have a dolphin family living in the waters off my house. Used to be four. Down to two now. If I am out on the deck as the sun rises, they will be all of 50 feet away looping up and down in the water.

Big night tomorrow! Don’t forget! The Big Sea Battle. The Conch Republic taking on the forces of the United States. Seven from Mallory Square to Schooner Wharf.

Thirty one years ago yesterday on April 26, 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in the Ukraine suffered a chemical explosion. Big time bad time. Fifty tons of radioactive material released into the atmosphere.

In 2000, a mother came to me with her baby girl. Eight months old. Lovely. Bubbly. The child had been born with half an arm on one side. The left arm ended just above where the elbow would have been.

Turned out her husband had been working 15 miles from Chernobyl at the time of the event. I did a little digging. The baby was born with one arm missing as a result of the Chernobyl incident.

The mother was not in the area. The father was. It had been established medically that male semen for years thereafter had been affected.

A situation! The father refused to accept it was his semen that was responsible. The mother always crying as her husband beat on her and in her desire to protect/help their daughter.

I tried to put the case together. Beyond my experience and capabilities. Worked with experts in New York, London and Milan.

Sadly, we could not do it. For a number of reasons not pertinent to this portion of the story.

The Trump tax cut that is being bandied about the past 24 hours confuses me. Republicans for years have been decrying the national debt. Has to come down!!! All they would say. No, not say. Shout!

The proposed plan will increase the national debt anywhere from $3-10 trillion over the next ten years.

The Republicans are quiet.

Enjoy your day!

FLAG FLOWN UPSIDE DOWN FREE SPEECH

It bothers me when I see someone in our country or in a foreign one desecrating the American flag. Like burning and stomping. Gets to me.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that such conduct is not criminal. It is the expression of free speech. Constitutionally protected.

Homer Martz is an Iowa farmer. Conservative, God fearing, patriotic. A Chinese pipeline was laid next to his well. No one told Martz it was coming close or that close to his well.

Martz opted to protest. No one would hear him. He hung the American flag upside down. Not to show disrespect. To be heard. Note that the flag pole had been there. He daily flew the American flag.

He felt he had been denied due process because of the failure to advise, give him an opportunity to complain, etc.

Martz was arrested. Iowa law makes it a misdemeanor to misuse in any fashion the American flag. The word misuse is mine. The statute actually has a number of instances where the conduct is considered illegal.

Sticking specifically to the law,  the arrest is a bum one. Again, the Supreme Court in two instances said American flag desecration is constitutionally protected free speech.

I address Martz’s problem for a reason. State and local governments should have known Martz’s conduct was proper. Failing in that regard to do so now subjects Martz to the expense of an attorney, his personal loss of time from his farm work, the taxpaying public  forced to pick up a prosecutor’s bill, a Judge’s expense, and salaries for a full court staff.

The Iowa law should have been removed from the books years ago.

I consider today a significant one in American history. President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act this day in 1935.

I am confident I will receive a number of negative comments re my position concerning Social Security.

Sixty years from now someone will be writing as I have here regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Has to be difficult be a President’s child! There is a video floating around the internet claiming to show Malia smoking a joint. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Melia was in a group of peers at some event where everyone was jumping and yelling. Kid stuff. Something persons her age do.

As to the toke, I question whether true. The video has only a quick shot of Malia. It is her. Took all of a second and gone. The toke part not clear. At all. Very interpretive she was smoking pot.

If true, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Michelle addressed the issue with Malia.

Worked with Sloan yesterday afternoon. Learning the new cell phone, utilizing it together with the computer, etc. A pain in the ass for me. I call it mechanical retardation. Generational.

Some of my readers commented the phrase was incorrect. Technologically retarded appropriate.

Whatever, it is still hard for me. And I am sure others of my generation.

It was Tavern ‘n Town last night. I decided to skip Lobsterfest. Let me share two reasons why.

Summer festival time with stands and shoulder to shoulder crowds, etc. on Duval is a steam bath. Twenty degrees warmer. Body heat. Pictures in this morning’s Key West Citizen show the crowd.

The other reason is that I am not a fan of Florida lobster. I prefer Maine lobster. Not being a snob. Florida lobster is tougher and has a different taste.

I read somewhere this week that the Maine lobster which is available for purchase at Publix is cheaper per pound than the Florida lobster.

What that means besides cheaper, I don’t know. Just sharing.

Ran into an old Syracuse University friend at Tavern ‘n Town. Steve. We had dinner together. Several years back when Steve was not so busy, he used to join me for Syracuse basketball games.

Met Katie Sottak. Steve introduced me. She is a hostess at Tavern ‘n Town. A lovely personable young lady. Twenty seven. Originally from New Hampshire. Has lived in Key West three years.

Her real love is art. Her works are presently being shown at Island Wynds Gallery on Simonton. The gallery next door to Books & Books.

The Hackley baby continues to concern me. I wish Hackley would write the baby’s name in his diary once so we would know.

Today’s problem as described by Hackley was wind and pain. He gave the baby some gin.

The gin thing does not shock me. All families have home remedies that have come down over the years. I recall when my sister Joan was teething. My mother would pour a little Canadian Club over her finger and then rub the finger over Joan’s gums.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

IOWA SURPRISES

Late night!

Iowa surprised. No question about it.

Trump came in second. Cruz won. Rubio one point behind Trump.

Rubio has the momentum. New Hampshire going to be interesting..

Sanders deserves all kinds of accolades. Ran a dead heat race against Clinton. I think Clinton won by two tenths of one percentage point..

The polls were off. Lets see how they do in New Hampshire.

My friend Tom in Iowa was correct. He always is. He told me yesterday Rubio would make an excellent showing.

Last night a run around. No question. Season is here. In full force.

I went to Hogfish for dinner. A line waiting to be seated. Went into the bar. I generally can find a seat there. It has always been catch as catch can. The bar has some tall round tables. Sure enough, got one.

Sat down. Hostess came over and said all tables in bar now seated by list. I talked to her a bit and thought I had sweet charmed her. She walked away.

Two minutes later this big waitress with a distinctive harsh voice told me to sign up and wait. She made it clear I would not be waited on.

Not wanting to wait, I took a chance on Roostica a few minutes down the road. Anticipated the same problem. I was lucky. Walked in and a table available in the bar room.

I will be making reservations from this point forward till the season ends.

Too many people! I fear the island will sink from the sheer weight of them.

My blog talk radio show tonight at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Interesting topics. Iowa, of course. In addition, the danger of anti-American citizen groups, military spending, destruction of the middle class, cost of a college education, and more. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Syracuse/Virginia Tech tonight at 8. I will be able to watch most of the first half. Vegas spread has Virginia Tech winning by 10.

Short blog. Have to move my ass. An early morning visit with one of my doctors. I wish I was being paid for these doctor visits.

Enjoy your day!

THE DELAWARE LEARYS

Valarie and Mark Leary have visited Key West over the years. Residents of Delaware. Valerie works as an EMT. She understands medicine. Mark is in air conditioning.

Valarie is a loyal blog reader. She wrote they would be down this week and asked if we could get together. We met yesterday at Martin’s Happy Hour.

Great people. Especially Valarie. Vivacious best describes her.

We spent two hours having a wonderful time. They return home today. I am sure we will get together on their visit next year.

Busy yesterday. So busy, I missed lunch. Breakfast was toast and coffee at 6. Then Meet The Press. At 11, I sat down to compose this week’s KONK Life column. Took me till 3 to complete, without a break.

The title of this week’s column is Things That Concern Me. I vented. Selected eight topics bothering me for one reason or another. There are more. However space limited the number I could cover.

I know without question many of my positions are controversial. I expect many comments.

Topics discussed: Trump, Flint water, immigrants, Zika, Key West tourists, citizen groups hurting the United States, military spending, and the destruction of the middle class.

Something for every one.

Following the Leary visit, I returned home. Spent the evening reading and watching TV.

The weather has turned. Finally. 76 yesterday. Supposed to be warm all week. Rained all night. Looks like more rain coming today. I do not care. As long as it remains warm. The sun will get its turn and come out.

Sometimes, I am behind the times. New things occur and I am not aware for several years. Pickleball the latest.

I never heard of pickleball till this past week. A sport that has taken hold in Key West. Especially popular among the elderly. Though all ages participating.

It is a form of badminton/tennis. A paddle and plastic ball used. The ball has holes.

The game has been around a while. There are 2.46 million players nationwide.

I have been considering retiring from bocci. I would spend thursday evenings working on one or two chapters of Growing Up Italian. A good substitute for bocce might be pickleball. The only problem is I am not sure I am physically up to it.

An interesting piece of legal history. On this day in 1790, the United States Supreme Court sat for the first time. Six Justices. A law had been passed the year before establishing that number. The Court now has nine justices. Subsequent legislation over the years increased the number.

The reason I make mention is that it took the Senate only two days to approve the six Justices. Never again!

Enjoy your day!